The Forest House (Avalon Series #2)

( 75 )

Overview

Before the Mists obscured the Isle of Avalon, there was the Forest House; where, in a remote part of Britain, a secret circle of Druidic priestesses guarded the ancient rites of learning, healing, and prophecy against the inexorable approach of the Roman Empire. Young Eilan, born to a Druidic family, is ripening toward womanhood and the flowering of an inner power she hardly dares dream of. Already she hears the call of the Great Goddess - and it will be she who is ceremonially chosen as the new High Priestess ...
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The Forest House (Avalon Series #2)

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Overview

Before the Mists obscured the Isle of Avalon, there was the Forest House; where, in a remote part of Britain, a secret circle of Druidic priestesses guarded the ancient rites of learning, healing, and prophecy against the inexorable approach of the Roman Empire. Young Eilan, born to a Druidic family, is ripening toward womanhood and the flowering of an inner power she hardly dares dream of. Already she hears the call of the Great Goddess - and it will be she who is ceremonially chosen as the new High Priestess when the reigning Priestess of the Oracle dies. But first, Eilan hears another voice - that of her love for the young Roman Gaius Macellius, whose mission is to subdue her native land and all its seemingly pagan ways. But Eilan must find the courage to renounce her lover for her sacred destiny...For within the Forest House's realm also dwell the bitter priestess Dieda, who, against her will, makes a pact that will bind her to Eilan forever; and the rebellious young priestess Caillean, who protects Eilan with a passion that runs far deeper than duty. Yet it is the Arch-Druid Ardanos, by turns the High Priestess's greatest ally and most ruthless enemy, who could destroy the Forest House, should he learn the terrible secret Eilan guards as fiercely as her life. The war that rages within Eilan mirrors the turbulence of her times; as the legions of Rome move closer, Eilan must rely on the power and magic of the Great Goddess to find her way out of the labyrinth in which fate has placed her... Like her classic bestseller The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley's new novel is a tapestry of myth, mystery, and romance, rich in the detail of the Druids' timeless rituals. The Forest House is a mesmerizing epic of a woman's mythic role at a turning point in history - brought to magnificent, unforgettable life.

The amazing prequel to Marion Zimmer Bradley's bestselling The Mists of Avalon--now in paperback. Inside the walls of the Forest House, in a remote part of Britain, a secret sect of Druidic priestesses guards the ancient rites of learning, healing, and magic against the onslaught of invading Romans.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The forbidden love of a druid priestess and a Roman soldier mirrors the clash of cultures in Roman Britain in the latest novel by the author of The Mists of Avalon (Ballantine, 1985). The novel evokes an age when three major religions maintained an uneasy coexistence on the island of Britain. Eilan, a daughter of goddess-worshiping druids, and Gaius Marcellius, a half-British Roman, live for the coming of a legendary future king to unite the warring islanders. Bradley envisions the "old religion'' as a refreshing blend of classic and revisionist concepts, adding a distinct flavor to her seamless weave of history and myth. Most libraries will want this for their fantasy collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/93.
School Library Journal
YA-The setting of this historical/fantasy novel is Roman Briton. Eilan, a Druid girl who has been raised in the cult of the Goddess with the priestesses wielding the power, has fallen in love with a young Roman named Gaius. He is a half-Briton whose mother was of the Druid tribes and whose father is a powerful officer in the Roman legions. The clash between these two cultures and the eventual hope of unification through Eilan and Gaius's son is one of the book's many story lines. Bradley does a masterful job of creating the flavor of the period and the two diverse cultures, as well as strong female characters. With its elements of love story, intense emotions, and mysticism, Forest House will appeal to YAs.-Susan B. McFaden, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
From the Publisher
"With the sure touch of one at ease in sketching out mystic travels..., Bradley writes with an unhurried pace and uncluttered staging." —-Kirkus Starred Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451454249
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Series: Avalon Series , #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 383,294
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley

Bestselling author Marion Zimmer Bradley (1930-1999) wrote The Mists of Avalon, The Forest House, Lady of Avalon, and The Firebrand, as well as the immensely popular Darkover series and numerous other science fiction and fantasy works. In 2000, she was posthumously awarded the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. Rosalyn Landor has worked as an actress since the age of seven, both in Europe and the United States. Her extensive list of credits includes leading roles on PBS's Masterpiece Theater, miniseries on all major networks, films, theater, and audio productions. She is an Audie Award nominee and winner, and she has won several AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran. Rosalyn has also been chosen by AudioFile magazine as a Best Voice of 2009 and 2010.

Biography

Marion Zimmer Bradley was writing before she could write. As a young girl, before she learned to take pen in hand, she was dictating stories to her mother. She started her own magazine -- devoted to science fiction and fantasy, of course -- as a teenager, and she wrote her first novel when she was in high school.

Given this history of productivity, it is perhaps no surprise that Bradley was working right up until her death in 1999. Though declining health interfered with her output, she was working on manuscripts and editing magazines, including another sci-fi/fantasy publication of her own making.

Her longest-running contribution to the genre was her Darkover series, which began in 1958 with the publication of The Planet Savers. The series, which is not chronological, covers several centuries and is set on a distant planet that has been colonized by humans, who have interbred with a native species on the planet. Critics lauded her efforts to address culture clashes -- including references to gays and lesbians -- in the series.

"It is not just an exercise in planet-building," wrote Susan Shwartz in the St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers. "A Darkover book is commonly understood to deal with issues of cultural clash, between Darkover and its parent Terran culture, between warring groups on Darkover, or in familial terms."

Diana Pharoah Francis, writing in Contemporary Popular Writers, noted the series' attention on its female characters, and the consequences of the painful choices they must make: "Struggles are not decided easily, but through pain and suffering. Her point seems to be that what is important costs, and the price is to be paid out of the soul rather than out of the pocketbook. Her characters are never black and white but are all shades of gray, making them more compelling and humanized."

Bradley's most notable single work would have to be The Mists of Avalon. Released in 1983, its 800-plus pages address the King Arthur story from the point of view of the women in his life -- including his wife, his mother and his half sister. Again, Bradley received attention and critics for her female focus, though many insist that she cannot be categorized strictly as a "feminist" writer, because her real focus is always character rather than politics.

"In drawing on all of the female experiences that make of the tapestry of the legend, Bradley is able to delve into the complexity of their intertwined lives against the tapestry of the undeclared war being waged between the Christians and the Druids," Francis wrote in her Contemporary Popular Writers essay. "Typical of Bradley is her focus on this battle, which is also a battle between masculine (Christian) and feminine (Druid) values."

And Maureen Quilligan, in her New York Times review in 1983, said: "What she has done here is reinvent the underlying mythology of the Arthurian legends. It is an impressive achievement. Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Celtic and Orphic stories are all swirled into a massive narrative that is rich in events placed in landscapes no less real for often being magical."

Avalon flummoxed Hollywood for nearly 20 years before finally making it to cable television as a TNT movie in 2001, starring Joan Allen, Anjelica Huston, and Julianna Margulies.

Two years before she died, Bradley's photograph was included in The Faces of Science Fiction, a collection of prominent science fiction writers, such names as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. Under it, she gave her own take on the importance of the genre:

"Science fiction encourages us to explore... all the futures, good and bad, that the human mind can envision."

Good To Know

Aside from her science fiction and fantasy writing, Bradley also contributed to the gay and lesbian genre, publishing lesbian fiction under pseudonyms, bibliographies of gay and lesbian literature, and a gay mainstream novel.

Bradley rewrote some editions of her Darkover series to accommodate real advances in technology.

Her first stories were published in pulp science fiction magazines in the 1950s.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Lee Chapman, Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 30, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      Albany, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      September 25, 1999
    2. Place of Death:
      Berkeley, California

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 75 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(41)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 75 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    History of Avalon

    This book is about the society of preistesses before Avalon, called The Forest House. It is an amazing story that is tied in with The Mists of Avalon in a very subtle way (That is, until the very end or also in the beginning of Lady of Avalon). The characters stay with you just as much (if not more) than the characters of The Mists of Avalon, hundreds of years away (about 400 I think). However, like The Mists of Avalon, there is an end to old traditions and the beginning of new ones. There is also a common theme of clashing religious traditions, this time being that of Pagan Britain ways and Pagan Roman ways (Christianity plays very, very little in this book). Even though there are some common themes it is still a very different book from The Mists of Avalon and I would reccommend it to anyone, not just fans of the Avalon series.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2004

    EXCELLENT!!

    I absolutely loved this book. It was written quite well and the characters were truly intriguing. It would be nice if all authors had her ability. Ther world would be a better place.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2003

    An Excellent Book

    After I picked up this book I could not put it down. Marion Zimmer Bradley does a beautiful job at creating a love story in the midst of a time of warring cultures. She has strongly devoloped characters that made me feel their emotions and writing was so descriptive and real I felt like I was watching the scenes right in front of me. This book was one of the best I've ever read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2001

    The second of the avalon series...

    I was so captivated by the Mists of Avalon, I went to the bookstore the moment I finished it hoping to find more of her Bradley's words. It was there I found there were three others in the series, and after much debating with the clerk, found the Forest House to be the first of three prequals (the second being the Lady of Avalon and the third being the Priestess of Avalon). The Roman names were at first difficult to manage but the nifty key in the beginning made me less cautious. It took me about 50 pages or so to get into the rythym, as I remember happening with the Mists of Avalon, but after that, I was hooked. The details paint the picture in my mind, without dragging on, and the sudden compression of timely and astounding events into a paragraph or two always catches me off guard and leaves me stuttering.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2000

    Insightful

    This is the first book I read out of the Avalon trilogy and it gave me a fresh perspective about early Britain and pre-Christianity religion. It is an extremely insightful book when you read between the lines!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Amorette

    ( tucks Maisey in ) Night sweet heart .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    A kit

    She leaps from bolder to boler laughing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2013

    Great

    Excellent book for any history buffs out there. Yes, its a novel but it also shows some history of the Romans. I enjoy her books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    ?lalaland Lalaland

    After this rating you will have71 ratings

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    Love MZB!

    I've read and reread Mists of Avalon and love these books about pre-arthurian england.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Not up to snuff for Bradley

    Expected more from this author. Most disappointing Avalon #1 much better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2004

    Such a great read!

    The Forest House is a wonderful book! Marion Zimmer Bradley did an amazing job in keeping her reader engaged -- so much so that you almost feel what the characters are feeling and you start wondering if what you're reading is truly fictional! There are no slow moments -- you'll never want to put the book down. Enjoy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2003

    A fantastic Book and Author. Stirs Emotions

    I truely loved this books. After reading 'The Mists Of Avalon' Marion Zimmer Bradley became one of my favorite authors. 'The Forest House' made it official. The way that Bradley combines the strugles of culture and individuals is amazing. I recomend it to anyone who... No just Anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2003

    More like TEN stars!

    I loved this book. I have read all the Avalon books, and they have caused me to become a believer in the Goddess, and far more interested in the religion of the Goddess and the Wiccan religion as well. The absolute love at the center of this book and the Goddess religion spoke to me more than my Christian upbringing ever has. This book may change your life, as it did mine. You will never regret reading this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2002

    Amazing!

    I read the Mist of Avalon, before the Forest House, but both books were amazingly written. The characters seemed to come more and more alive with each turn of the page. Ms. Bradley will surely be missed!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2002

    Best Book Ever!!!

    My all time favorite book, an excellent tale of the Druids, Christians, and Romans. Has an excellent mix of Romance, relgion, and history. The characters are well devolped and you feel like you're in the book with them, living this live.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2000

    Review by Rachel

    This book is an excellent one for those interested in history in a different perspective. I recommend reading it as part of the series that includes: The Mists of Avalon, and The Lady of Avalon. These are all great books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 75 Customer Reviews

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